We all savvy the case for dominance: think Celtics, Yankees, or Mike Tyson for combat sports purposes.
Dynasties can undoubtedly be a great fixation, especially for a sport looking to attract mainstream appeal…but when does it actually become a hindrance to the sport itself?
When pundits and uber-fans alike start to consider that a champion can simply mail it in—that there is not even the slightest suggestion that a title holder might be usurped—then perhaps it is time for the powers that be to shake things up.
Caught in the cross-hairs of all three moving up at the same time is the intrigue of a third fight between Penn and St. Pierre; also the long mused-about “super fight” between St. Pierre and Silva.
If you take Dana White at his most recent word, he has little interest in putting up Canada’s finest against the Spider via his whitewashing of former light heavyweight champ Forrest Griffin. White believes that “what tangled webs he weaves,” Silva is just too eight-legged ginormous for someone in St. Pierre that would weigh in as a diminutive middleweight.
Time will tell if that fight ever makes its way to a stadium conveniently located within the friendly confines of Toronto.
As far as the conclusion of the Penn vs. St. Pierre trilogy, that one seems more likely if Penn walks through Frankie Edgar at UFC 112 and St. Pierre does not want to leave his home-sweet-home at 170.
If so, he better quit putting on so much muscle though…could we ever see a day where GSP actually misses weight?
Penn won’t get the title shot automatically though. Look for St. Pierre to most likely challenge the Josh Koscheck-Paul Daley winner, possibly as coaches on season 12 of The Ultimate Fighter .
A compelling first fight for Penn, should he ascend upward, could come against Jon Fitch or Thiago Alves.
Imagine the stand-up war pitting Penn’s vaunted boxing up against Alves’s aggressive Muay Thai. Could we see a scenario play out where Penn actually started to lose the stand-up battle and tried to take down Alves? Of the three fighters, the likelihood of Penn packing on some pounds feels most likely.
For St. Pierre and Silva, the plot thickens.
"O Canada" has seemed hesitant at the hypothetical of moving up thus far; at the very least he is in no rush to do so.
He has talked about building a legacy, wanting to be considered the best mixed martial artist of all time.
Perhaps he believes his path to greatness lies in laying waste to un-formidable foes at welterweight with no end in sight. While it would certainly add to his trophy case, and his consecutive title defense tally, at some point his legacy would have to be called into question if he does not make the swim upstream to stiffer waters.
Assuming Anderson Silva makes the move to a combination of light heavyweight/heavyweight, St. Pierre would get to start from scratch in a division that may be lacking the depth of the welterweight division, but fights with the best at 185 would be no easy chore for the trigger-happy takedown artist.
Of course the fight that would have to be side-stepped would be a fight against fellow Greg Jackson-trained teammate Nate Marquardt.
But that is certainly a more manageable chore in avoidance then the three AKA-trained welterweights (Fitch, Koscheck and Swick) managing to avoid each other—especially with Marquardt not being in the immediate title picture.
Fights against Vitor Belfort, Chael Sonnen, Demian Maia, Wanderlei Silva, and even Michael Bisping all hold more intrigue then rematches with Jon Fitch, Thiago Alves, Josh Koscheck, or even B.J. Penn for that matter.
If St. Pierre truly wants to cement his legacy, will he not be at some point feel compelled or be forced by scrutiny to move up in weight?
Last but not least, what to do with Anderson Silva.
After his fight with Demian Maia, is there anything left for the Spider in the middle-of-the-road division? He has already face-planted all of the big bugs with his 100 mile per hour windshield mentality. It's simply time for him to upgrade to a wider lane highway.
The biggest hurdle standing in his way of possible light heavyweight dominance is his friend and Team Black House training partner Lyoto Machida. If "The Dragon” reigns his fistic fire on Shogun’s parade for a second time, Machida will likely have the second heavyweight division on lockdown for awhile.
And by awhile, we mean until Jon Jones arrives at his destination of title town (hype train choo chooing at full steam).
Perhaps it would be in the best interests of all involved for Silva to circumvent all that noise and take his act to the grandest platform of them all: the reinvigorated UFC heavyweight division.
Anderson Silva, via his manager Ed Soares, has stated that he wants to be involved in the biggest fights possible, and what would be bigger, both literally and figuratively, than potential fights with Frank Mir, Cain Velasquez, Shane Carwin, and, last but not least, everyone’s favorite behemoth Brock Lesnar (Junior dos Santos not eligible due to that whole pesky teammate thing).
For once, Silva would not have to cut weight. In fact, he would be encouraged to bulk up for his debut at heavyweight and come in at least a beefed up 240, allowing him to weigh as much as the smallest of the lot in Velasquez.
Just imagine: If Dan Henderson is the prototype of a fighter to tangle up Silva (and take a round), just how sticky could things get for Andy if he fights a bigger, better version of Hendo, via Velasquez?
Sure divisional dominance is great, but anything can wear out its welcome, and knowing when to color outside the lines is a must when the possibilities are so utterly captivating.